Erm, um, it's hard to choose at Om

  • 2005-03-23
  • By Peter Walsh
RIGA - It was a bitterly cold and windy day when I stumbled by accident into Om. I was looking for a place, any old place, to sit down and warm up after having been walking around for hours on end. And then there was Om. Om? Yes, Om. Um, that'll do, I thought, and bolted inside.

And what a pleasant surprise it was. I'd been up against the elements all day, which had generally been a rather peculiar one all round. Now I was in Om, I'm sorry I can't stop saying the word, Om, Om, Om, it's just so soothing, like one of those songs that go bom diddley bom.

For those of you familiar with ancient Eastern religion, Om is a big word. It's about as big as it gets, with the possible exception of Mom, but that's another story.

Anyways, I sat down on one of the comfy leather sofas, or rather sank into it, and ordered from the delicious-looking menu. In fact, the menu was a revelation, and I suddenly felt as if my whole day had been leading up to Om.

I'm so tired of the stodgy, mayonnaise-drenched, dill-decorated swill that frequently passes for food in Riga. Here was a delicate, Eastern-inspired menu on a par with any other in the city. And as I took in my surroundings, I realized that Om was having a curiously calming effect on me.

Across the room I noticed two men sitting at adjoining tables, simultaneously eating soup and sipping tea, while periodically gazing out of the large windows at Stabu St., as if they were immersed in the most profound contemplation. Either that, or they were seriously enjoying their soup.

It was strange just how synchronized their movements were, almost spookily so, and I felt like I should probably stub my cigarette out, spit out my espresso, and start doing some serious thinking as well. But then my date cake arrived. Yum, I said, to suitably convey my appreciation to the waitress.

The interior of Om is, as you might expect, a minimalist affair. In fact, it has a curiously "Eiroremonts" look, but is nevertheless comfortable and unclustered enough to make you feel perfectly at ease. The music was so relaxing while I was there that I found myself unconsciously sinking deeper and deeper into the sofa, but the waitress was kind enough to come and pull me out before I disappeared altogether.

I realized that those behind Om were savvy enough to make it appeal to as many people as possible. The menu could tempt even the most fastidiously stomached Buddhist, while also attracting the growing number of people in Riga who burn incense and listen to CDs of Peruvian panpipes by way of exercising their Eastern-orientated souls.

Om was a real find, and I am sure I'll go there to eat more than once. It's not only that the food is truly wonderful (and reasonably priced), but there is just something inherently charming about a place called Om. You find the word echoing over and over in your mind as you sit there, carried away by all the good food, and the meditative music. You start to wish that your name was Tom, or even Dom, damn it, but it's not, so what can you do. Well, now at least you know where to find some Om when you want it.